NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Today, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee released 2021 highlights that contributed to greater prosperity, freedom, and opportunity for Tennesseans.
“From securing the largest economic investment in state history, to reducing the number of distressed counties to an all-time low, we have worked together with Tennesseans for one of the strongest years in state history,” said Gov. Lee. “We thank members in the General Assembly for their partnership and look forward to building on this success in 2022.”
In addition to legislative priorities and investments, Gov. Lee launched a 95-county tour commemorating 225 years of Statehood through the year-long, Untold Tennesseecelebration. Since June 1, there have been events in 51 counties with remaining county stops planned in 2022.
“Our best days happen when we are on the ground with Tennesseans serving in their communities,” said Lee. “This year, Maria’s TN Serves Initiative served distressed counties by delivering more than 190,000 meals, more than 5,000 backpacks for school children and nearly 1,000 pairs of shoes for kids.”
Photo highlights from the year may be viewed here.
Major accomplishments and investments from 2021 include:
- Reduced the number of distressed counties to nine, a 52% decrease in four years
- Allocated $500 million to provide high-speed broadband to every Tennessean
- Invested $79 million to eliminate the 11,400 TCAT waiting list for high-skill, high-wage, and high-demand jobs and increased apprenticeships by more than 30% across the state
- Awarded second round of GIVE grants which will fund 27 projects statewide, serving all economically distressed counties and 25 of the 30 at-risk counties.
- Returned to pre-pandemic unemployment rate of 4%, the lowest since March 2020, and ended the year with six consecutive months of decreasing unemployment
- Tennesseans enjoy the lowest state and local tax burden per capita
- Secured 130 economic projects representing nearly 35,000 job commitments and nearly $13 billion in capital investment
- Landed the largest economic investment in Tennessee history by recruiting Ford Motor Company to the Megasite of West Tennessee
- Attracted major business relocation and expansions including Ford Motor Company, Ultium Cells, LLC, Smith & Wesson, Chewy, and Amazon
- Increased the teacher salary component of the BEP by 4%
- Invested $250 million in the Mental Health Trust Fund
- Invested over $160 million in academic summer camps to address learning loss resulting in more than 120,000 Tennessee students receiving aid, increasing results for elementary students by more than 7 percentage points for English and language arts and more than 11 percentage points for math
- Ensured a phonics-based approach for kindergarten through third grade reading instruction to increase early literacy skills
Supporting National Security
- Increased transparency in foreign investment at Tennessee’s universities and prohibited Confucius Institutes
- Visited 300 Tennessee National …….